Our materiality analysis

In the reporting year, we have identified six material topic clusters and 15 individual topics:

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We identified our main topics in accordance with the HGB in a multi-stage process in the reporting year. Material in this respect are those aspects that are relevant for understand­ing Fresenius' business performance, results of operations, and position, as well as for understanding the effects of its own business activities on the non-financial aspects. The key topics for the Fresenius Group are explained separately based on the way they are managed in the individual business segments. On topics such as data protection, cyber­security, compliance, and human rights, we report Group-wide strategies.

The materiality process

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  • Steps 1 and 2: List of topics

    The set of topics, referred to as the long list of topics, of this year's materiality analysis is based on previously identified topics from prior years and on a competitive analysis. We have also taken into account the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the SDGs and other frameworks.

  • Step 3: Outside-in analysis

    In order to determine the expectations of our external stakeholders (outside-in-analysis), we analyzed regulatory trends and legislative proposals, as well as the activities of our competitors, media coverage and the results of capital market rankings. We validated the results of this desktop analysis by the Investor Relations & Sustainability, Corporate Compliance and Corporate Communications departments. They were also compared with the materiality results of our business segments.

  • Step 4: Inside-out analysis

    To be able to assess the impact of Fresenius on the non-financial aspects, we conducted a comprehensive SDG analysis. This analysis assesses the risk of negative effects and the positive impact of Fresenius on the SDGs. The results were also validated by the departments and by comparison with the materiality results of the business segments.

  • Step 5: Ranking

    In order to draw up the final ranking of topics, we considered, among other things, the relevance of the topics for the business segments as well as future trends in the capital market and in legislation as corrective factors. Investor Relations & Sustainability finalized the overall result in a closing workshop and presented it to the GSB.

Materiality analysis results

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As a result, we have identified six main topic clusters and 15 individual topics. There are no major changes compared to the main topics of previous years, although they have been defined in more detail. The structure of the chapters in this report reflect the main topic clusters. The various individual topics are assigned to the chapters according to their prioritization, and their management approach is described according to requirements the requirements of GRI and the German Commercial Code (HGB).

Stakeholders and partnerships

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Fresenius is involved in a diverse network of stakeholder groups. We gain valuable insights from this exchange which we use to continuously develop our quality and sustainability management as well as our reporting procedures. In 2019, we reviewed and prioritized our stakeholders: to this end, existing corporate communication channels, the requirements of sustainability ratings and rankings, and frequent inquiries from investors were evaluated. Our main stakeholders are:

  • Patients
  • Employees
  • Providers
  • Private shareholders, institutional investors, analysts and rating agencies
  • Political institutions and external organizations, e.g., in the fields of health care and patient care
  • Suppliers or other business partners

In their non-financial reports, Fresenius Medical Care and Fresenius Helios in Germany and Spain also include a precise list of the stakeholder groups that are specific to their respective business activities: for example, Fresenius Medical Care includes science and research, while Fresenius Helios considers trade unions.

Comprehensive stakeholder dialog

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We are in contact with our stakeholders through different channels: Fresenius Helios Germany and Spain, for example, conducts patient satisfaction surveys during treatment. Fresenius Helios Germany also publishes a quarterly patient magazine. In both countries, employees can exchange information on the Group or respective business segment intranet or ask to meet with the management. Fresenius Medical Care also conducts regular surveys of patients and employees. Because of their stock-listed status, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA and Fresenius Medical Care, in particular, are constantly in contact with investors and analysts and available to clarify queries. The four business segments regularly contact their own stakeholders. The new GSB is of great importance for exchange within the Fresenius Group.

The Board addresses topics of relevance for the whole Group, which helps to align the sustainability commitment of the four business segments with the requirements of our stakeholders and to discuss future steps internally. From now on, we plan to expand our stakeholder engagement as part of our materiality analysis. For the reporting year, we have explicitly considered the requirements of rating agencies and political actors. The departments and business segments have contributed the views of their respective stakeholders.

Our work in associations and initiatives

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Our employees bring their expertise to national and international boards, committees and associations. In part, this is accompanied by industry agreements or obligations. The following initiatives and memberships are currently of particular strategic importance for the business segments:

  • BVMed – German Medical Technology Association – Member: Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, represented on the Management Board through Fresenius Kabi
  • IQM – Initiative Qualitätsmedizin – Founding and Management Board member: Helios Germany; actively chairs committees; voluntary commitment to quality principles
  • DAI – Deutsches Aktieninstitut – Member: Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, Fresenius Medical Care
  • Medicine for Europe – Member: Fresenius Kabi; commitment to the Code of Conduct
  • VCI – German chemical industry association – Member: Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA

Strategy and management

Access to health care and medicine